Pat Swilling Jr. transitions from basketball to football at Tulsa

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After a four-year college basketball career, former guard Pat Swilling Jr. will stay at Tulsa and compete for one final season on the football field, according to a report from Bill Haiston of the Tulsa World.

Swilling Jr. was suspended from the Tulsa basketball team for the final 11 games of the 2013-14 season because of a university and police investigation stemming from an alleged sexual assault, but the native of New Orleans was cleared and he’s finishing up his college athletic career on the football field.

A 6-foot-3 guard, Swilling Jr. started his basketball career at Saint Joseph’s before transferring to the College of Southern Idaho and finishing up at Tulsa. Swilling Jr. averaged 8.6 points and two rebounds per game during his senior season at Tulsa.

Swilling Jr. is the son of former NFL All-Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer Pat Swilling. The elder Swilling was a dominant linebacker and had a prolific college career at Georgia Tech, becoming a first-team All-American in 1985, before moving onto the NFL and making five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1989 through 1993. Swilling spent his 13-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders and finished with 107.5 career NFL sacks.

The move to the football field won’t be completely foreign to Swilling Jr. Besides knowing the game from his father, Swilling Jr. played both football and basketball at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans and according to Haiston, Central Florida, Oklahoma State and Tulane also showed interest in Swilling Jr. as a football player before he opted to stay at Tulsa and play for head coach Bill Blakenship. Swilling Jr. will likely line up at H-Back for the Golden Hurricane and he could also see time at wide receiver or corner.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?